Look in the upper left column and you'll see my first gold sponsor: Pat Wiesner, my old boss from ColoradoBiz, a retired small-business publisher who has an abiding interest in helping the people who worked for him become successful. Photo credit:cobizmag.com
He still writes a column on management in the magazine, and helping employees become successful has been one of the management principles Pat has most persistently advocated over the years. He does it again in this month's column as he finds a business application for the best dog trick he has ever seen.
He writes: "In any case, here comes the business tidbit to think about. I will never forget Bella. Everyone who wants to cut a wide path in business has to have some of that "I'll never forget" mystique. The boss you will never forget because in addition to all the other things his mind was on, he had a keen interest in the career health of all his people, and because of this he had the best people."
Pat agreed to be my first sponsor and put a check in the mail before I had even had a chance to meet with him. But that check represents the first successful attempt by me to "monetize" this product, which I have been writing for two years and represents what I call the "new journalism" of the 21st century.
My point? Another friend, Tim Correll, suggested when I figured out how to monetize this blog, I write about it so other writers and small business owners could learn from my experience. That experience has been long and hard.
Google, which hosts the blog, has an advertising program called AdSense that its bloggers are supposed to be able to hook into. I started trying to work that process in February but recently was turned down for an AdSense account because my page, the one you are reading, was not designed quite right for Google advertisers. I'm still trying though.
In the meantime, I asked participants in a recent Idea Cafe for other suggestions. Henry Dubroff, another old boss, suggested I find people and companies to sponsor the blog. Great! But I still had not figured out how to acknowledge those sponsors on this page.
John Wren, who hosts Idea Cafes at the Panera Bread store on Grant Street near the state Capitol every Friday afternoon, took ten minutes this week to talk me through finding the right widget to use on this blog to show that Pat Wiesner had become my first sponsor. Victory!
And as with any victory, there are a few lessons to be learned from the experience:
First, realize how dumb you are and ask people for the help you need. I've been described as "plodding," and praised because I keep "plugging" my way toward journalistic and other business solutions. So be it. If that's what it takes to get a story or to create a small business, I won't be afraid to admit what I don't know, and I will find the answers to my questions.
Second, this relationship thing that business gurus keep preaching can work for you when you are trying to start a business. All the people who helped me here were long-time friends and business associates who, in time, were able to answer the questions I was finally able to ask.
Third, it's sometimes amazing how long it takes to solve the simplest of problems when you don't know what you don't know.
I'm going to continue writing about what it takes to monetize a blog. It's the new journalism of the 21st century! Keep reading.